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Monday 22 July 2019

Review: Enola Holmes Mystery: Book 4 - The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan

The story opens on Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes having a heated argument about their sister Enola and her ability to remain undiscovered. 

She continues to go out at night, serving the poorest people of London with life’s basic necessities, all funded by the money her mother has left her. This time she is disguised as a midden-picker.

Lady Cecily, who had gone missing in The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, and was tracked down by Enola, enters the picture again.  

Their strong friendship forged then due to their connecting free-spirit, independence and strong mindedness, reignites at a glance. 

Cecily is been dragged by her two aunts through the newly created Ladies’ Lavatory during a shopping spree for a trousseau. She is in danger and cannot speak. Her pink fan becomes her voice.  The clever Enola is familiar with fan language. But Cecily is whisked away before any detailed exchange can be made.

Enola sets out to find and save Cecily for the second time. As always, she meets up with dangers, obstacles, and experiences adventures that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. She discovers Sherlock is on the same trail as she is. Can they work together to discover the mystery surrounding Cecily?

We see a shadow of change in Sherlock. Admiration for his extremely bright sister is evident. Her success in cases where he has failed, has forced a shift in his view of, and attitude to, her and her intended life. There is also a change in Enola towards Sherlock whom she has always loved dearly but stayed distant toward. For to reveal weakness would put her freedom in jeopardy. Are they moving towards a meeting place somewhere in the middle?

We follow Enola through the intricate maze of her mind as she winds her way towards a solution to this new challenge.  

London life of the late 1800s is presented vividly through descriptions of the divide between the rich and poor. Through Nancy Springer’s excellent use of common language and Enola’s many disguises, the reader is treated to a journey through dress codes and styles of the classes, surroundings, food and daily routines, entertainment and modes of travel of the era.

The role of women, which is a strong theme in this series, is defined as being valid only if under the care of a man, and then, obedient, servile and silent. Enola is a heroine with a voice and mind of her own, which she is determined to keep.

I love this series for its intelligence, and the blending of mystery and adventure with spectacular themes that educate and inform while offering entertaining reading.

Title: Enola Holmes Mystery: Book 4 - The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
Author: Nancy Springer
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $14.99
Publication Date: 5 February 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760637408
For ages: 12+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction